You wouldn’t think that moving to a new house, let alone a new state, in the middle of a global pandemic would be ideal – but that’s exactly what Del and Howard Friemann did.
The Friemann’s were living in Maleny, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, but a lack of public transport options had made them reconsider their location.
With a daughter in Victoria, and a son in Sydney, the Friemann’s thought that public transport access in Melbourne would suit them best, and so they began the hunt for a retirement village to suit. They found St Joseph’s Mews, Hawthorn by a bit of a fluke, according to Del.
The couple moved during the state’s lockdown. But Del says this wasn’t a deterrent, as it gave the couple time to get themselves sorted, unpack, and settle in.
“Having to stay inside meant we were able to take our time before we had to meet people socially, the timing was perfect really!
“Now we are getting involved in the village’s coffee and cake mornings, where we meet other residents and have a talk for 15 minutes. It can only manage 30 people at a time through the hall, library and dining room, and we all sit the required distance apart, but everyone is quite taken with it.
“We have found that even though we didn’t know anybody, there were other residents who haven’t sat down and talked to other residents either until now, so it has worked out beautifully. Everyone has made us feel welcome, they stop in the hall and keep their distance and introduce themselves and have a chat. The people have been great.”
Del and Howard are taking the opportunity to explore their new neighbourhood, catching the tram to the Camberwell Market, and taking strolls around the streets.
“It’s all so easy. We just hop on the tram at stop number 27 and then get off at stop 40. It’s also just as easy to go straight into the CBD, which we will do in the future. It has been perfect living here; it has worked out very well. We try and walk each day in one direction and get to know the area.”
While they are happy to explore, the couple also can’t wait until they can take full advantage of all St Joseph’s amenities.
“Once things are a bit more relaxed, everyone will be so much more active. There’s a choir here, there’s a gym, the picture theatre, all these things which will be accessible to us, soon, I hope. And we will enjoy using every single one of those, my word, we will take advantage of it!”
Even though Del said the couple spent time looking at other retirement villages, she said she didn’t really have any expectations of their future home.
“I knew, to a certain degree, what I wanted within our unit, but we got so much more when we found St Joseph’s. It has definitely exceeded what we originally expected, it has worked out very well.”